Villar to focus on agriculture for her legislative agenda
CEBU CITY—Reelected Senator Cynthia Villar again expressed disinterest in the position of Senate President and instead, preferred to continue focusing on agriculture for her legislative agenda.
Villar was in Cebu Thursday to speak at the 14th National Convention of the Water Environment Association of the Philippines (WEAP).
The association is a nonprofit organization promoting safe drinking water, clean wastewater effluent and a healthy environment. This year’s theme is Sustainable Program for Water Safety, Security and Sanitation.
According to the senator, only the speakership was in question, adding that there was no question on the position of Senate president.
Also, she did not believe she would be endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte for the position.
“Usually, the President endorses only those who would apply, but I did not apply,” Villar pointed out.
She said that it would be better if there would be no conflict in the Senate, so that they could proceed with their job faster.
She said that politics would only slow down the work.
On the other hand, Villar said she would chair again the Senate committee on agriculture and food.
She noted that she would be doing an oversight on the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund to make sure that it would be effective.
“If it will not be effective, we will review after three years and then we will find another model,” Villar said. “We have to make it work because that is the only way that our rice farmers will be competitive with Vietnam rice farmers.”
The senator also plans to refile the Coco Levy bill, which has been vetoed by the President.
“We will find out what he doesn’t like in it, and we will refile,” she said.
If approved, this would benefit 45 percent of the country’s farmers who are coconut farmers.
Another bill Villar plans to file is a bill for organic farmers who have to shell out P100,000 annually for certification.
“The farmers don’t really earn that much so they could not afford these fees. We will introduce another manner of certification of organic products that are cheaper, the participatory guarantee system,” she added.
Meanwhile, the senator also stressed the importance of water and the environment for the agriculture sector.
“If the water supply is not okay, agriculture will die,” she added./dbs
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